From President-elect to President – The process of the presidential transition

From President-elect to President - The process of the presidential transition

Grayson Joslin, Editor

The peaceful transition of power.

That idea has been executed successfully between every President in our nation’s history. Transferring the office of the chief executive of the United States from one person and one party to another is a very important task to make sure that the incoming President is fully prepared when he takes the oath of office. One way to prepare the new President is through the presidential transition period.

Preparation for the presidential transition happens before the election has even been held and a winner declared. For example, the members of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team were announced on June 20th. Once a winner is announced through various media sources, the Administrator of the General Services Administration will then sign a letter declaring the “apparent winner” of the election as the official President-elect of the United States. The transition team will then get access to millions of dollars in funds, federal office spaces, and government email accounts.

After the victory, the campaign team then gets to work. One of the primary goals of a presidential transition team is to find people to fill the President-elect’s cabinet. The Cabinet is, according to the Constitution, a group of people that advise the President. In the modern day, the Cabinet consists of the heads of various national departments, such as the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security.

Usually, the Cabinet is filled with politicians from the President’s own party, but not always. For example, Republican Chuck Hagel was nominated by Democratic President Barack Obama to be his Secretary of Defense in his second term.  The people chosen by the President-elect are not automatically elevated to that position that they have been nominated on Inauguration Day. The nominees will have to face confirmation in front of the United States Senate.

The presidential transition team of the President-elect also appoints the staff of the White House. The positions that are usually nominated during this time include Chief of Staff, Senior Advisor to the President, and the Counsel to the President. Unlike Cabinet positions, these nominees are automatically elevated to their positions on Inauguration Day and the beginning of the President’s term.

The outgoing administration and the transition team of the President-elect will usually work together for a seamless and peaceful transition of power. For example, in October 2008, George W. Bush’s administration created a council to work with the winning candidate’s presidential transition team. After Barack Obama triumphed in the election, President Bush invited the newly minted President-elect to the White House to discuss the transition of power.

The President-elect, in preparation in taking the office of President, will begin to receive daily classified intelligence briefings from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency shortly after the election. The President will then, during press conferences and visits, re-iterate his positions and campaign messages and also announce what he will do in the first few days as President.

The presidential transition process is a two and a half month period in order to assure that the peaceful transition of power can be completed with no issues in the system and that the President-elect can be prepared when he takes the oath of office on January 20th.